March 20, 2024 12:48 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

Lucy Alexander, renowned for her expertise on Homes Under The Hammer, has taken the lead in a fresh campaign aimed at addressing the persistent issue of vacant properties. Teaming up with mortgage lender Together, this initiative seeks to tackle the substantial number of abandoned homes scattered across Greater London. As of the close of 2023, statistics reveal that the region harbors nearly 290,000 properties left entirely unoccupied, presenting a pressing challenge for local communities and authorities.

With her extensive knowledge and experience in the property industry, Lucy Alexander is at the forefront of efforts to identify and revitalize these empty homes. By raising awareness and mobilizing resources, the campaign aims to breathe new life into neglected properties, ultimately contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods and the enhancement of urban landscapes. Through collaborative action and targeted interventions, Together and its partners endeavor to address the root causes of housing vacancy and promote sustainable solutions for repurposing these assets for the benefit of communities across Greater London and beyond.

These vacant properties represent a significant asset, valued at over £180 billion collectively. Unlocking their potential for first-time buyers and home movers could offer a substantial solution to the UK’s mounting housing challenges. Notably, Greater London stands out with nearly 290,000 abandoned and derelict homes as of the end of 2023, making it the region with the highest volume of empty properties. Leveraging these dwellings could help alleviate the housing crisis, providing much-needed accommodation for individuals and families across the country.

Additionally, a recent study sheds light on the extensive presence of deteriorating civic and commercial structures across the UK—referred to as ‘Hidden Gems’—which could be repurposed into residential units. These buildings, with the right investment and renovation, hold the potential to contribute significantly to addressing the housing shortage. Housing Secretary Michael Gove has pledged to facilitate the conversion of such spaces into homes without requiring full planning permission. These regulatory changes are expected to streamline the development process and lead to the construction of tens of thousands of residences annually in England’s 20 largest regional cities.

A national survey conducted by Together revealed that 77% of participants residing in areas with abandoned or derelict buildings believe that redeveloping these sites could rejuvenate the local community and generate employment opportunities. Additionally, 67% expressed frustration, considering these spaces as squandered land with untapped development potential.

Furthermore, the survey found that 43% of UK adults encounter abandoned commercial or civic buildings on a weekly basis, with 17% encountering them daily. Similarly, more than one in five individuals (21%) come across deserted residential buildings at least once a week, with 8% encountering them daily.

Lucy Alexander, known for her role on Homes Under The Hammer, shared insights based on her experiences filming the show. She noted encountering numerous derelict properties during filming, emphasizing the satisfaction in witnessing these neglected spaces transformed into habitable homes by individuals willing to take on the challenge.

“Many overlook the accessibility of such buildings, making Together’s Hidden Gems campaign crucial. It sheds light on nationwide opportunities and financing avenues for these transformative projects,” stated Lucy Alexander.

Analysis shows the South West of England witnessing a 20% surge in empty properties since 2021, leading the regional trend, followed by the East of England at 16% and the East Midlands at 15%.

London Boroughs collectively boast the most detached homes, with 9,199 properties valued at £11.5 billion. Cornwall takes the lead at the Local Authority level for detached homes, with 9,180 properties valued at £4.2 billion. Birmingham tops the list for semi-detached homes, hosting 4,721 empty properties worth £1.2 billion, while County Durham leads in terraced homes, with 7,472 properties valued at £757 million. Westminster holds the highest number of empty flats and apartments, totaling 33,102 properties worth £27 billion.

Elliot Vure, corporate director at Together, highlights the urgency of addressing the UK housing crisis with a comprehensive strategy. He underscores the importance of encouraging homebuyers and investors to revitalize the vast number of empty homes across the country’s regions. Vure emphasizes the necessity of a long-term approach to this issue, advocating for greater access to funding to support the complexities of these projects.

In response to recent developments allowing more commercial-to-residential conversions through relaxed planning restrictions, Vure acknowledges the positive steps taken but emphasizes the need for additional support mechanisms. He suggests that while such measures are beneficial, they need to be accompanied by robust financial resources and governmental assistance to navigate the intricacies of revitalizing empty properties.

Vure concludes by expressing hope that initiatives like the Hidden Gems campaign will provide opportunities for potential homebuyers, investors, and developers. By facilitating access to finance and aligning with supportive government policies and incentives, he believes that ambitious goals within the housing market can be achieved, contributing to addressing the ongoing housing challenges.





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